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April 13, 2016
In a bid to build a stronger British investment presence, the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and more than forty business leaders, headed off to Lain America. The trade visit to Colombiaand Mexico is on the back of the growing political, economical and global influence of the two countries. In a bid to look for new export markets for British business in order to help rebuild the UK economy the main aim of the trip is for the business leaders and politicians to identify new business opportunities. Speaking ahead of his visit, Nick Clegg stated that “the UK took its eye off the Latin American ball, and as a result we’ve fallen behind many of our other European competitors”. As well as the business side of the trip to Colombia, there is also significant political message being sent, as Nick Clegg will be the most senior British government minister to visit the country since 1992. In doing so, the recent efforts by Colombia in re-branding itself as one of the up and coming nations of the region and a far cry from its chequered history, seem to be paying off.
Engaging in dialogue with Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos; the Deputy Prime Minister will be looking to reinforce and develop the increasingly strong political dialogue between the two countries as well as the growing economic relationship. Most notable, the relationship between Colombia and the UK has grown significantly in the areas of innovation, science and education. This can be seen when looking at the UK’s goods and services exports to Colombia which in a period of 3 years (2009 -2012) grew by 126%, one of the highest growth rates in the world. The original 2015 bilateral trade and investment target of £1.75billion has already been met, and Nick Clegg is set to announce a new bilateral trade and investment target between the two countries, estimated to be in the region of £4billion to be achieved by 2020.
In Mexico, Nick Clegg is also set to meet President Enrique Peña Nieto in order to reinforce bilateral relations between the two countries. The relationship between Mexico and the UK looks set to grow ever stronger in the build up to 2015, with the year being designated as the Year of the UK in Mexico and Year of Mexico in the UK.
The UK-Mexico trade and investment links are already well established with the UK acting as the fifth largest investor in Mexico within the first 11 months of 2013. This gave rise to the amount of UK exported goods to Mexico increasing by 9% when compared to the same period in 2012. With a bilateral trade target set at £4.2billion by the end of 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister will be reiterating the UK’s commitment to reaching such a goal. It has been stated that Nick Clegg is also set to announce that the UK will double its market share in Mexico to 1.5% by 2020.
As one of the largest UK trade delegations to visit Colombia and Mexico, the goal of ensuring that UK companies can benefit from the huge opportunities the Colombian and Mexican markets offer, looks set to be achieved. Noticing the open, reforming economies of Mexico and Colombia, the UK seems to be bucking the trend of trade visits and investment in the growing economies of Asia and instead paying attention to the economic growth of Latin America. What can be said is that the Deputy Prime Minister’s visit to both Colombia and Mexico is a strong message of intent by the UK government with the strengthening of new political and economical relationships paving a brighter future for all those involved.
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